Snowden and Sheehan combine to win “iconic” Coral Gold Cup with Datsalrightgino
Datsalrightgino came right through the field to win the showpiece Coral Gold Cup at Newbury Racecourse for Lambourn’s Jamie Snowden on Saturday.
The 16/1 shot was given a superb ride by Gavin Sheehan, who picked his path through the pack from last to first to land the £250,000 prize for the first time – even though the Irish jockey had been booked to ride at Newcastle.
The 31-year-old was set to ride in Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth meeting but raced back down south after the action was called off due to frozen ground.
And his efforts to make it to West Berkshire were certainly not in vain as Datsalrightgino, who spent his first season over fences racing largely at two-and-a-half miles, showed impressive staying power as he navigated the three-and-a-quarter mile trip with apparent ease.
After seeming to find the initial pace tough going, Sheehan steered the seven-year-old into contention four fences from home before Datsalrightgino demonstrated his stamina and turn of foot to pass leader Mahler’s Mission and land Newbury’s feature National Hunt race by three-and-three-quarter-lengths.
"Your Monday to Friday winners are essential, but people really sit back and take notice of the Saturday ones. It's a wonderful, historic and iconic race to win," Snowden said.
"It's strange how things work out, we were delighted to have Gavin on board. The horse isn't short of speed and we campaigned him last season over mainly two miles as a novice chaser and he improved 20lb, but Gavin still said he couldn’t wait to go up to three miles and he was right. A big race like that was the perfect occasion to step him up – thankfully it worked, he stayed the trip and had enough left to quicken up and win it well."
Datsalrightgino’s odds are now as short as 16/1 for next April’s Aintree Grand National, with Snowden suggesting he could follow in a long line of Gold Cup winners (formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup) and go for a tilt at Europe's most valuable jump race.
He said: "We thought that, given how he improved going up six furlongs from his previous trip, he might be able to go up another mile in the National.
"Plenty of Hennessy winners have gone on to do well in those staying handicaps, but he's got to keep on improving and he'll pick up a few pounds on the handicap. We'll have to see what happens and there's a chase at Cheltenham in January that might be a nice stepping stone."
The Coral Gold Cup triumph marked another high point for Snowden, who celebrated a record 11 winners in November and earned more than £700,000 in prize money last season. And he's considering another crack at the big time this weekend with You Wear It Well – who ended a nine year wait for a second Cheltenham Festival winner in March – set to line up in Saturday's rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle, which could pit him against Champion Hurdle hero Constitution Hill.
"We put the entry in this morning (Monday)," Snowden said.
"It looks a competitive renewal but we'll see how the week pans out.
"She's in great order and, in the absence of a suitable race for her in December, we think it might be worth a shot at a big race. Of course, stepping up into Grade 1 company against the boys is a big ask, but she's a fantastic horse and it's certainly an option."